Sunrise Visitor Center
Sunrise Visitor Center
4.5
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Tourist center located on the eastern side of Mount Rainier National Park.
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4.5
4.5 of 5 bubbles300 reviews
Excellent
199
Very good
80
Average
14
Poor
6
Terrible
1

PandaHouston
Houston, TX6,233 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Aug 2021
From the Sunrise Visitor Center, we did the Mount Fremont Lookout Trail which was our 2nd favorite hike in Mount Rainier. Our favorite hike was the Skyline Trail. We stayed in Packwood so the Sunrise area was around 1.5 hours from us. On the day we did the Mount Fremont hike (Wednesday 8/4), we got to the parking lot at 7:20 am and had no issues finding parking. By the time we got back to the car at 11:30 am, the parking was full and people were waiting for spots.
Written August 20, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Meg
Wenatchee, WA9 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Aug 2020
Amazing hikes of all varieties. Many travel up the surrounding mountains for a close up look at the majestic Mt. Rainer. The trails slope through sub-alpine meadows, filled with birds, marmots, and the occasional mountain goat. Some parts of the trail are covered in snow (early August) so be careful.
Written August 7, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Innsbruck30
Pennsylvanians Who Love The Alps15 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Sep 2019
My wife and I drove to Sunrise and immediately saw a doe walking next to the parking lot. The shop was fun and the food was good, but the thing was the superb views. Mt. Rainier was perfect.. We took a couple short walks and really enjoyed ourselves.
Written April 13, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Steve5863
Avon, OH13,020 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Aug 2015 • Family
While the Sunrise Visitor Center is an interesting rustic log building, this review is more about the whole experience of visiting the Sunrise area of the park which, at 6,400 feet (1,950m), is highest point in the park that one can drive to and offers great views of Mount Rainier and its glaciers, including the Emmons Glacier, the largest in the contiguous United States, excellent hiking opportunities and some nice vistas on the way up.

Due to it elevation, the 15 mile (24.2k) road to Sunrise, which departs from Hwy 410 on the eastern side of the park, is only open weather permitting from late June / early July to late September / early October and the Visitor Center is open daily but only from early July to early September. There are two good reasons to visit Sunrise in the morning; the first is that this is the east side of Mount Rainier which is nicely light in the morning but becomes backlight as the day progresses and the best views are lost. The second reason for a morning visit is that when the road to Sunrise is open, it is a very popular destination and the parking lot fills up quickly; arriving by 10am or so on weekends and during the height of the summer season is recommended.

The road to Sunrise climbs steadily from Hwy 410 to the parking area through a number of switchbacks with opportunities to spot wildlife (we saw elk and a bear) and columnar andesite formations from the mountain’s volcanic origins. However, the best part of the drive is the pullout at Sunrise Point which is located at the last switchback before reaching Sunrise. One cannot miss the large pullout in the interior of the switchback perched on the crest of a ridge that provides panoramic views of mountains and alpine lakes in all directions.

At Sunrise, besides the log blockhouse visitor center, there is a day lodge with restrooms, a restaurant and a good gift and book store. Next to the visitor center there is a large picnic area with table dispersed amongst the trees. The visitor facilities at Sunrise are actually better than those at Paradise and, while busy, they are not completely overwhelmed as they can often be at Paradise.

Of course the primary reason to come to Sunrise is to enjoy the wildflower meadows and the views of the mountains and glaciers and the best way to do this is from one of the many trails. While there are a number of lengthy trails, made more strenuous from the altitude, there are a number of easier worthwhile trails including the Sunrise Nature Trail, Emmons Vista, Frozen Lake Loop and the Shadow Lake Loop. We particularly liked the Emmons Vista combined with the eastern portion of the Sunrise Ridge Trail for easy 2.2 mile (3.5k) out and back roundtrip hike that runs nearly level just below a ridgeline on the south side rewarding one with wildflowers in the summer and great views of the White River about 2,000 feet (610m) below, amazing views of Mount Rainier and the Emmons Glacier.
Written January 4, 2016
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

otteergirl
seattle2 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
My son and I live in Seattle, Washington. I have a view of MT. Rainer from my home and longed to see it up close again. We needed a break from city life so we headed to Mount Rainer National Park to camp. At the last minute we decided to go up to see the Sunrise Visitor Center, i'm so glad we did! The drive up to Sunrise is easy, the roads are fine. We stopped at a few amazing viewpoints then headed up to the top, 6100 feet. There was still some snow left over from plowing the lots, after oogling the mountain we threw a few snowballs at each other then went in for dinner at the cafe/gift shop. Had some tasty burgers at this clean well run place then headed back down the mountain to find a camp spot . The prices are a tad bit higher in the cafe because of the remote location but there is a full menu of favorite cafe items. Lovely evening, As mentioned earlier, the pictures cannot do justice to the beauty of this area!

If you need a quick day trip, this is it. Pack a picnic lunch, go early in the day, budget in for gas and the 15.00 entry fee to get into the area leading to Sunrise (worth every penny as the area is kept priistine and safe with these funds collected) and have yourself a wonderful afternoon. Dont forget hats and sunscreen! The visitor center is free but closes at 5:00PM so make sure you budget time for that. We found the gas prices cheaper in Enumclaw than in Seattle, so feel free to gas up there on your way up, you do want to enter the park with a full tank of gas.
Written July 21, 2008
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

SnrFan
OK51 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
My husband and I visited Mt. Rainier August 06'. We drove up to Sunrise and enjoyed the inspiring scenery. If you can't hike, it's worth the drive anyway. You can enjoy tremendous viewpoints accessible by car. If you can hike, do it. We chose the Burroughs trail due to limited time. We went at a leisurely pace and took several stops along the way to soak in the beauty. Glacier View Point was amazing. We stayed there for about 40 minutes and had it all to ourselves. We took that time to enjoy the beauty and praise God for His majesty and creativity. Our only regret is that we did not spend more time at Mt. Rainier during our vacation.
Written August 28, 2006
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Ericka98125
Seattle, WA39 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Aug 2010
This is the highest point on Mount Rainier that you can drive to in a car. You don't even have to leave the parking lot to get magnificent views. There are plenty of easy, short trails for families with young children or for those who don't want a long hike. If you plan on taking the longer trails (like Burrough's Mountain), be warned. There is much snow in summer and 2011 was an exceptional year for late snow. Talk with rangers before heading out on backcountry trails as there will be steep snow fields requiring ice axes in some areas. Only the experienced hiker should go. Inexperienced and unprepared hikers should stay on the lower trails. Also, do stay on the marked trails to avoid trampling the delicate alpine meadows.
Written July 27, 2011
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Dan M
South Carolina105 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jul 2015
I visited Paradise on Saturday and Sunrise the next day. I got to Sunrise Point about 3 miles prior to the Visitor Center about 20 minutes before the sunrise. Sunrise Point is a good location to obtain a good view of the mountain as the first light strikes the mountain and walks it's way down since the sun is directly behind you as you face the mountain here. To obtain the best sunrise shots you will need a tripod. I arrived 20 - 30 minutes before sunrise to set up and get ready. It was a bit disappointing that a large number of people arrived just prior to sunrise and moved into the area of my shots. I jumped in the car and drove a little closer to the Sunrise visitor center and simply pulled off on one of the pull-offs and got great shots of the actual sunrise.

I was on the trail heading to Burroughs Mountain by 6 am. I suggest heading up to the Sourdough Ridge Trail and then out to Burroughs Mountain. This gets you up where you have periodic views north into high meadows on the north side of Sourdough Ridge, but you can also look across the meadows and forested hills of Sunrise.

There are not a lot of people hiking this early and the light is terrific for photography. While I saw a herd of Elk on my drive up and heard coyotes howling down in the forests, I didn't see any wildlife for the first 30 minutes or so. However when I got to Burroughs Mountain the terrain opened into tundra like topography and I saw plenty of wildlife. See my pictures of a fox, mountain goats, marmot and chipmunks. I think the open terrain, the lack of fear of man, and the early morning hour all made it optimum for wildlife viewing.

There are three different peaks on Burroughs Mountain. On Burroughs #2 there is a stone bench built decades ago that faces Mount Rainier. From this point you are close to the mountain, but unlike Paradise where you are on the mountain and the scale is a bit hard to grasp, here it seems to loom large across the glaciered gulf between you and the actual summit. If you get to the bench, be sure to sit and rest a while. As I sat there the sun had been up for a couple hours and I started hearing thunder. I looked around and there wasn't a cloud anywhere. A local walked up a little later. As we chatted they explained that the glaciers would begin groaning and that it was just the mountain talking to all who were in the vicinity. It was pretty cool.

I took the Sunrise Rim Trail back to the visitor center. Again I think I would recommend going this direction, i.e. up to Sourdough Ridge Trail out to the Burroughs Mountain Trail, and then loop back by the Sunrise Rim Trail. You top out on the Burroughs Mountain Trail and it is mostly downhill from there. Note that the Sunrise Rim Trail appeared to be less traveled and it is on the edge of some fairly steep mountains. The steepness of the trail going this direction was not as much an issue as the potential for a very long fall before you would stop. In fact it is recommended to have a partner when you hike and that is probably very prudent.

One other aspect of this hike that I enjoyed was the many different rock formations. It is obvious that many different volcanic flows have occurred in this area. Off the right side of the Burroughs Mountain Trail are many different types of rock. Even though this area has limited plant life, it isn't without color and character, it just comes from the rocks as much as from the plants.

While Paradise and Sunrise are both on the same mountain they feel a good bit different. Sunrise has a more barren, harsh feel to it, but delights the senses as you see tufts of wildflowers spring up from the rocks. Paradise is a big stronger with the feel of meadow and forest border. In either case, arrive early to see the sites, and hopefully the wildlife, before the crowds get too large.

One final warning - check the weather and road conditions before you head up. Both locations are pretty remote from stores, restaurants, and civilization. That's part of the charm, but also makes it difficult if you get there and a late (or early) snow has closed the road.

I hiked with a backpack that had the 10 essentials which included plenty of water and a water filter if I got stuck.
Written August 7, 2015
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

graciel1232015
Upton, MA82 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jul 2015 • Couples
We visited Sunrise in Mt. Rainier National Park on a beautiful, clear Friday in July and found the experience to be fantastic. I would highly recommend this trip to anyone seeking outstanding scenery, a memorable picnic, and/or a day hike. There is a winding road that takes you to Sunrise, and while not all that harrowing, if you are afraid of heights you should probably not look down at some points during the drive. Sunrise Point will be the first parking lot you come to – it has beautiful views (we were lucky enough to see Mt. Adams clearly from there) and some signs identifying the mountains. From there it is a short drive to Sunrise, which is where you can talk to rangers in the visitor center to help plan your day; they were very happy to help us select our hiking plan and provided us with tips and a map. You can also look through a telescope there and see people climbing the mountain!

We chose a hike out to the Second Burroughs because it included incredible, fairly up-close views of The Mountain, it could be done as a loop (versus an out-and-back) and it was at a high elevation so we were above the tree line for the majority of the hike. It isn’t a trivial hike; you gain 1000 feet of elevation from Sunrise (6400’) to the Second Burroughs (7400’) and it’s about 6 miles for the loop, but it’s certainly doable. It took us about 4 hours and we stopped to take a lot (a LOT) of pictures along the way. You have an option to skip the Second Burroughs (a 1.2 mile out-and-back from the First Burroughs), which is what we originally planned, but we felt up to it so we went for it. Just use your judgment about how you feel when you get there. Keep in mind that oxygen is a bit scarcer at that elevation, so pace yourself and take frequent breaks.

I would recommend a trip to Sunrise to anyone – I would also recommend getting there early in the morning (but also keep in mind that the visitor center opens at 10am – oh, and it’s not open year-round, so check to make sure the road is open before you go!) and go on a weekday if possible to avoid parking issues and crowds (there were no issues with either one on the Friday that we went). Choose a hike that fits your fitness and interest level – even if it’s just to the picnic area!
Written July 19, 2015
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

noleta
Santa Barbara, CA17 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Sep 2014 • Friends
Sunrise, Mt. Rainier, isn't as famous as Paradise...but in many ways is more spectacular. It is a two hour drive from Seattle and the last 15 miles from the Park entrance on the northeastern flank of the mountain is a memorable mountain road. It is one of the closest views of glaciation on the mountain and on a clear day one can see to Mt. Baker on the Canadian border.
Written September 21, 2014
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

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